The importance of the nutritionally balanced diet in children has been continuously emphasised by physicians and dietitians. Inadequate childhood eating habits such as high-fat diet can highly contribute to developing obesity in children. The public health recommendations highlight the significance of reducing total fat consumption. Low fat meat-based meals can be suitably formulated to supply the required nutrients such as protein and essential fat for children.
Fats are essential in the diet. They help maintaining the flexibility of the cell membranes in the body. The proportion and the type of fat used in the recipe are substantially important. For instance, moderate intake of cholesterol is effective in promoting the growth in children.
Meats and meat-based products provide protein, vitamins and minerals. The daily consumption of meats containing less fat which provides more protein and sufficient fat for the body are nutritionally recommended. These include Lean meats, fish and poultry.
Examples of meat-based/low-fat meals suitable for children:
- Turkey mince with pasta in onion, petit pois, parsley and tomato sauce; turkey leg mince (3 Tbsp), dry pasta (1 cup), petit pois (1/4 cup). This can be accompanied by one sliced pear and consumed at lunch time.
- Steamed rice (1/2 cup) and roasted chicken (skinless) drumstick (1). This meal is suitable as a main course. It can be accompanied by one bowl of vegetable soup (as starter) and one sliced apple (as dessert) to be served for dinner.
- Chunky chicken pieces in pineapple, red pepper, onion and dill sauce served with rice.
Reading nutrition information and the health claims of the food packages helps consuming healthier diet within adequate proportions. The nutrition information describes the percentages of the present macronutrients (such as saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, fibre and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (minerals and vitamins). The health claims on the food labels mainly characterise the quantities of the nutrients. These include “light”, “low saturated fat”, “reduced fat”, “fat free” and “less cholesterol”. The food labeling is required to be legally complied with the respective food regulations. For instance, “light” refers to containing 50% less fat or 1/3 fewer calories than the same regular product.
It is important to provide nutritionally well-balanced diet for children to ensure their healthy growth and development. The serving portion is as important as the type of the nutritional ingredients which highly contributes to preventing the potential obesity among children. To date, there have been varying types of interventions and legal requirements for children foods. These include